Cash for Scottish ideas

October 22, 1999

Henry McLeish, Scotland's minister for enterprise and lifelong learning, yesterday urged Scottish universities and research institutes to bid for Pounds 11 million of new funding to commercialise scientific discoveries, writes Olga Wojtas.

The new "Proof of Concept" fund was recommended by Scotland's knowledge economy task force to complement the University Challenge Fund. It is aimed at funding the gap between scientific discoveries and the prototype stage, when commercial funding should be available.

Institutions must bid by January 21. There are expected to be two annual calls for bids in subsequent years.

Meanwhile the Scottish Executive has set up a series of seminars to discover how tertiary education and business believe the knowledge economy can be developed.

Mr McLeish said: "The knowledge economy will not be created by government alone. It needs all of the key players in academia, business support and the business community itself to make it a reality."

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